Gillette draws fire for #MeToo commercial that challenges 'toxic masculinity'

Key Points
  • Razor maker Gillette has been met with some backlash over its new ad campaign, which draws on the MeToo movement.
  • The company uses the commercial to challenge bullying, sexual harassment and “toxic” male stereotypes.
  • However, it has come under fire, with some claiming the commercial demonizes men.
Gillette releases ad that challenges ‘toxic masculinity’
Gillette releases ad that challenges ‘toxic masculinity’

Gillette has come under fire after releasing a commercial that draws on the #MeToo movement to challenge "toxic masculinity."

In the ad, the razor brand — a subsidiary of global giant Proctor & Gamble — calls out "bullying," "sexual harassment" and "toxic masculinity," and questions: "Is this the best a man can get?" The campaign goes on to encourage men to hold one another accountable for their behavior.

Gillette said on its website it was time brands acknowledged the role they played in influencing culture.

"As a company that encourages men to be their best, we have a responsibility to make sure we are promoting positive, attainable, inclusive and healthy versions of what it means to be a man," the company said.

However, the ad's message was met with backlash from some, with claims it was too political and painted all men as bullies or sexual harassers. The YouTube video, which has been viewed more than 2.8 million times, has almost 250,000 dislikes, while others took to social media to respond to the campaign.

Television personality and journalist Piers Morgan said on Twitter: "If Gillette made a commercial predicated on women being bad & this is how they can all be better... the same radical feminists loving this ad would go nuts."

A spokesperson for Gillette told CNBC via email on Tuesday that the company had a responsibility to champion positive male behaviors.

"We expected debate — discussion is necessary. For every negative reaction we've seen many positive reactions, people calling the effort courageous, timely, smart, and much-needed," they said. "At the end of the day, sparking conversation is what matters. This gets people to pay attention to the topic and encourages them to consider taking action to make a difference."

Gillette said it would donate $1 million per year for the next three years to non-profits that carried out programs in the U.S. designed to help men become role models for the next generation by inspiring respect and accountability.

WATCH: New Gillette ad addresses the #MeToo movement

New Gillette ad addresses the #MeToo movement
New Gillette ad addresses the #MeToo movement